The Walt Disney Company to Acquire Majority Ownership of BAMTech

The Walt Disney Company to Acquire Majority Ownership of BAMTech

In a significant development, Disney has chose to end its distribution agreement with Netflix for new movie releases and is planning to launch its own streaming service in 2019.

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The company also announced that it is buying majority stake in BAMTech, a streaming and marketing service, in a deal worth $1.58 billion.

Disney's defection, announced yesterday alongside quarterly results showing continued pressure on sports network ESPN, is a calculated gamble that the company can generate more profit in the long run from its own subscription service rather than renting out its movies to services like Netflix.

The ESPN streaming service, that'll arrive first, will be part of the already existing ESPN app and will offer an array of sports coverage with around 10,000 live regional, national, and worldwide games and events per year across all sports.

Walt Disney Co said on Aug 8 that it is launching two new streaming television services, including one for its ESPN-branded sports channel, while ending its deal with Netflix as it shifts towards direct content distribution.

The media giant is planning to launch Netflix-style direct-to-consumer internet services for ESPN and Disney. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live. Disney will also make a significant investment in an annual slate of original movies, TV series, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives for the service.

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The new service will be accessed through an enhanced version of the current ESPN app.

Disney has not yet decided whether Marvel Universe features and Lucasfilm movies, which include the Star Wars franchise, will sit on the service.

"We're very proud of the content distribution innovations driven by MLBAM and BAMTech over the past 15 years", said Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr.

Disney chief executive Bob Iger says the launch marks "an entirely new strategy" for the company, which "takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands".

"This is an exciting validation of our team, its achievements and the customer-centric platform it's built", said Michael Paull, the CEO of BAMTech. The acquisition still requires regulatory approval.

There aren't a lot of details pertaining to the Disney streaming service at the moment.

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